Posted by SchoolDays Newshound on 26/09/2013. Tags: Primary School News
A new digital programme aimed at promoting best practice use of technology in primary schools has been launched in Ireland.
Ruairi Quinn, Minister for Education and Skills, unveiled the flagship initiative, which is designed to assist schools as they attempt to better integrate technology into the classroom.
HP Ireland and Microsoft Ireland have lent their backing to the scheme and will be providing support for five years. As part of this commitment, the companies are not only offering practical help and resources, but have also pledged €300,000 for the first year of the programme.
It is hoped that the Digital Schools of Distinction initiative will provide schools looking to make more use of technology in the classroom with a pathway and the resources to do so - and it is anticipated that around 500 primary schools will be signed up to the scheme within its first year.
At the launch of the programme in Sacred Heart SNS, Killinarden, Tallaght, Mr Quinn said it is of the utmost importance that all citizens acquire literacy skills.
He stated: "With the rapid pace of change in technology, familiarity with financial and digital literacy has taken on much greater importance in the lives of individuals."
Should the project prove successful in Ireland, HP and Microsoft have plans to roll out similar initiatives in other countries across Europe.
Mr Quinn explained the need for digital literacy has been recognised throughout the continent, adding: "The Digital Agenda for Europe aims to reboot Europe's economy and help Europe's citizens and businesses to get the most out of digital technologies."
As part of the initiative in Ireland, a Digital Schools of Distinction status will be awarded by the Department of Education to schools that meet the required criteria. A Digital Schools Classroom Kit will then be sent to new digital schools.
This will include a HP laptop, which features Microsoft software that includes Windows 8 and Office 365, as well as access to education information and communications technology specialists and a number of educational apps.
Written by Donal Walsh
It is becoming clearer by the day that Digital Literacy needs to be a subject in itself, with a well thought out curriculum that builds understanding from Kindergarten onwards. Such a curriculum should not only include ICT skills, but also cyber safety and appropriate online behaviour, understanding of networks and networking and an understanding of the immense impact new media is causing shaping modern society.